Inverters and Chargers

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  • May 31, 2013 4:08 PM
    Reply # 1306573 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    I know the question wasn't directed at me but as to why have an 800 watt unit when a 200 watt unit will charge all the various items routinely charged (computers, cell phones, cameras, etc), I don't know about anyone else, but I also wanted to run power tools occasionally w/o pulling out the Honda generator.  Theoretically, a 200 W inverter will not run anything larger than 1.6 amps.  Since my Bosch jigsaw clocks in at 6.4 amps (768 watts), the 800 watt unit is the minimum that will do the job.  I started out with a 250 watt unit sold by West Marine thinking that all I'd ever need it for was charging electronics.  Then I moved the Bosch aboard.  The 800 is way too small to run an angle grinder or something like that but, if I'm using a grinder, there's a good chance I'll be using it long enough to warrant firing up the Honda.  The jigsaw gets used sporadically but usually for very short jobs.  Worst thing about my Whistler inverter is that, if I have the computer plugged into it while watching a movie, and I want to plug the computer into the stereo for better sound, the inverter causes a horrible buzz.  It also occasionally causes static on the VHF.  And I'm sure it would play hell with my SSB but I just routinely turn it off when working with the HF radio.

    Just more food for thought or ideas to muddy the decision-making process.

  • June 01, 2013 3:05 PM
    Reply # 1307094 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    All great input, and I appreciate it - lots to think about.   I like the 800W for the use of tools, vacuum, etc. and actually, my wife might like something even more powerful like 1200W for a hair dryer!!  As thin as I am on top that's not a high priority for me.   I think I'll go with the Whistler 800W and the Guest 2613A, combined with a Blue Seas AC rotary switch (#8367) to handle the switching between shore power and the inverter for AC in the boat.  It seems like a clean system and should do the job nicely.   Granted, the Guest charger doesn't have the 50amp output of the Xantrex unit, but when I'm on shore power overnight it should do a good job of keeping the batteries topped off.  Heck, the output of the battery charger for my golf cart is only 13 amps and it recharges the four 12 volt batteries in about 6-8 hours.   And, as was mentioned, the price is low enough that it's not a heart breaker when one of them dies!   Thanks again guys,  Tom
  • January 11, 2014 8:52 AM
    Reply # 1472775 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    My new Whistler installation is working perfectly.  I use a Blue Seas switch to alternate between shore power and the inverter.   As for a charger, I still haven't replaced the old Xantrex unit.  My charger had three outputs: one for each double bank of 6 volt Trojans (my 12 volt house banks) and a third for the engine start battery.  My question is this: is it a waste to charge the start battery from a Guest Pro Charger?   Am I better off just relying upon the engine to recharge the start battery as I motor out of the marina and stay with a dual output Guest Charger for the house bank?   Like most of us I want to maximize my boat bucks.   Also, what's the thought of 5 vs 10 amps?   Obviously 10 gives faster charging, but I would think that 5 amps would handle an overnight charge unless the house bank is seriously depleted.   What's the real world experience have to say?  -Tom
  • January 11, 2014 9:35 AM
    Reply # 1472796 on 1304365
    Deleted user

    The larger the battery charger the better.  Running the charger at full output shortens the life of the charger just as it does an alternator.  It's a good idea to get a full charge from a battery charger whenever possible.  It takes a long, long time to fully charge a battery from an alternator and undercharging batteries greatly shortens their life.  Losing a battery charger when out cruising is a pain in the ass, it just happened to us.  We had a twenty amp charger, all we could get at the time, that failed within two years and replaced it with a forty amp which is minimum for a large cruising battery bank.  We have 450 amp bank.  It's also best to have one large bank than two small one.  This is because of the way plates in deep cycle batteries diffuse when under load.



  • January 11, 2014 4:06 PM
    Reply # 1472948 on 1304365
    Deleted user
      I second what Jim said.  With an extra note; as you stated your battery charger is not from your inverter.  

    MAKE SURE, your charger can NOT! be turned on when the inverter is switched in-line MAKE SURE the battery charger from your shore power which most of us leave on (CAN NOT BE ON WHEN the inverter is on the same lines.  

    The loop power thing never did quite work out. (Oh well)
    Oh; one last thought, all of this stuff runs on smoke, if you let it out, it won't run anymore.

    best wishes for a clean and full battery system

  • January 13, 2014 11:45 AM
    Reply # 1473993 on 1304365
    Deleted user
    Norm and Jim, Thanks for the input.  Interesting thoughts about the charger & inverter not being ON at the same time.  Right now my Blue Seas selector switch for 110v is wired to my AC distribution panel.  It would be possible to turn ON the charger breaker with the inverter ON as well, however I have a separate switch for that.   Ideally, I should have some way to prevent that from happening.   A bit of signage would work for me, but perhaps not for a visiting crew member.   Any other ideas in that regard?  Oh, and my Betamarine BV1505 has the 100 amp alternator.  You overlooked my question about charging the start battery from the charger - or should the charger just feed the house bank?  -Tom
  • January 13, 2014 1:20 PM
    Reply # 1474101 on 1304365
    Deleted user

    on the 12 volt side; charge for the starter battery, I would have a connection to the battery combiner switch  (because of the following (dead batteries from ?????? in the slip and want to (need to ) be somewhere because ????.  If you can isolate and charge to the starter bat you can get going in xx min. and then charge the house off the alternator while motoring. else you maybe be there for an additional xxx min.
    If you have a house bank combiner switch i.e. (bat1,  bat1&2 and Bat2) you could just have your charger  hooked to the combiner and then switch the banks to both = all in line and charge all of them or just one set?.

    As for the switching issues if you have a isolated pair of normally closed contacts on the blue seas switch (when you are on AC)  you could run the 120 v+ from the charge breaker to the poles and then on to the charger, thus when you switch to invert,  the 120 line from the Charger breaker goes to the now open switch and not to the charger.   Not sure the switch you noted has this extra set of switch points?? also be sure how you wire up your inverter (grounding / neutral) most manuals have something about this in them.

    On my boat the charge is on the house. I have to switch the bank combiner to all, to allow it to charge from the main charge (But my system has a trickle charge line that is only to the start bat which is always on when on shore power)  from my very old charge/inverter that is the way they wanted it to be routed (freedom 1500) .

    P.s. My solar comes in on the bat combine switch so I can send it to (start, both or just the house)

    Hope this helps.
     and with most guests if you forget to tell them how to do it, they will find a way to do it wrong!

    pps.  if your 120 breaker for the charger is on the end (top or bottom) you could cut the buss bar, and wire that side, to the shore power. Thus it would not be connected to the 120 buss when the shore power is disconnected. 
    Last modified: January 13, 2014 9:18 PM | Deleted user
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